04/24/14

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Upsetting the Apple-cart…

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Life, just when it gets comfortable, something new pops up. Even if it is an advancement, or a better fit, change is hard. Am I brave enough to take the chance, to make the change?

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

 

Beating around the bush…

Even if my daily life does not make me happy, it is something that I know. Jumping into the unknown is very difficult.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu

 

Trying to go with the flow…

Change is knocking at my door. Am I ready to let it in?

 “And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”

― Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

 

Don’t rock the boat…

 What I have has served me well. But having the opportunity for more? I am nervous, deliciously so. On the other hand, nauseously so.

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.”

― C. JoyBell C.

 

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Everything that I have accomplished in life is coming together, each experience, each achievement, has led me to this moment-actually it has led this opportunity to me. Karma is coming around. The hard work and sacrifice has led the universe to grant me a wish. 

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
― C. JoyBell 

 

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Change is difficult for me. Change that I have not instigated. Saying good-bye to the old, and welcoming the new. Moving forward still leaves something behind. Projects half accomplished, left for someone else to finish, or not. Budding relationships abandoned before they can bloom.

Weighing the pros and the cons against each other. Unconsciously, giving more weight to what I already have in my grasp. Do I continue to just mark time or open myself to the wide open spaces of the unknown?

This may be what scares me the most. I like to be cocooned. Swaddled in the blanket of familiar. Cozy.

Maybe this realization is just the push I needed.

Have I been fooling myself with my motto:

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Holding so tightly to the safe, the cozy, that I cannot let go, even for something better?

 

HEY UNIVERSE! This is me letting go…making room for the new.

KARMA! I am taking the offered gift, consider this wish granted!

I am going to take the leap and FIGHT for it!

Thank You!

 

 

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04/23/14

Top 10 Ways I Am Feeling The Lovin’!

Bloglovin’ That Is!

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Recently I lamented about my lonely first year of blogging. I slogged along, on my own, writing in my little hovel. But I have been yearning to meet other bloggers and writers, so I started searching. As I traveled from one blog to another via blogrolls, I ran across an interesting review of  the site Bloglovin’. I stopped by, checked it out. I feel the love!

(FYI: You do not need to have a blog to enjoy Bloglovin’, if you follow blogs find them, or add them, on the site-enjoy having your favorite reads all in one spot .)

Bloglovin’ is many things…

1. A catalog of sorts. Thousands of blogs are listed in the Bloglovin’ directory. If you love to read blogs, this is a site that you want to be a part of. You can follow and find blogs through the site, each time that your favorite blogs are updated the new post shows up in your feed. When you choose to follow a blog Bloglovin’ recommends similar blogs for you to check out.

2. One stop shopping. I follow a lot of blogs, my email inbox was inundated each day with new posts. Although I love reading and following many bloggers, hundreds of emails a week became a bit overwhelming. Now I visit Bloglovin’ each day and read updated posts.

3. Showing the love. I can “like” a post to give the author some love, or I can comment as I read. Either way the author of the blog knows that I am reading their work, I have met so many incredible bloggers this way, creating a network of friends.

4. The best blog reader, ever! Instead of signing up for an RSS feed for each blog that I follow and going to a RSS Reader to read each new post, I use Bloglovin’ as my reader. It is easy and it is free. Bloglovin’ shows a snippet of each post with a photo, you can pick and choose which article to read.

5. Seeing what others are reading. I can see the posts that my fellow bloggers have “liked”, this leads me to new blogs, new addictions. LOVE THIS!

6. Learning about new ways to connect.  Bloggers are a social bunch, they love to meet and share their blogs, knowledge, tips. And they love to throw a great party! Through blogs on Bloglovin’ I have found Twitter parties, link-up parties, Google+ hangouts, tons of fun that I never knew about before. Many of the blogs that I follow are taking part, and I can join in and meet others.

7. A great tool for finding blogs in any niche. I am interested in so many different topics-photography, home decor, fashion, parenthood, marriage, food and drink, art…I can pick an interest and peruse blog after blog featuring this interest. Great fun!

8. An archive. When I have “liked” an article these “likes” are stored on my profile page. If I want to find this article at a later date it is easy to find, clearing some space on my bookmark bar.

9. Mobile. You can sign up for the mobile app and access Bloglovin’ anywhere. I can easily read my favorite sites; as I wait for my children after school, in the waiting room at the Doctor’s office, laying in bed, relaxing in a bubble bath. Anywhere, anytime.

10. Read more in less time. Now I can easily read 20+ blogs a day. Bloglovin’ makes interacting with others easier and less time consuming. Building a community or tribe takes time, you need to read, comment, interact with other bloggers. With all of my favorites on one site I can spend less time searching and more time interacting. Bloglovin’ makes it simple and my productivity has increased dramatically.

These are my top 10 reasons for feeling the lovin’-but don’t just take my word for it-here are some other great articles about Bloglovin’ love:

A Beautiful Mess

Let Birds Fly

Traveling Triplets

 

If you are on Bloglovin’

Check out my blog View From In Here, follow me and I will follow you right back! Looking forward to getting to know you!

 

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04/17/14

Friendships, Apologies and Cursing The Fact That Each Day Has Only 24 Hours.

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My girl Dawn. She set up my hubby and I, stood with me at our wedding,
is a fantastic “aunt” to my children, loves my dog. And no matter
how long it has been since we have talked, wa are always there for each other.
Much love to you Dawn. XOXO

 

Friendships…

Are built over time. A shared fascination with each other. Someone to laugh and cry with. A person who enjoys your silly and you love their silly right back. You got their back and they have yours. Someone who joins you when you cheat on your diet, and you make a pact to never tell a single soul. Someone who helps you see that you not paranoid-they really are out to get you! She understands your purple hair and you know about her secret tattoo.

Priceless. Just Priceless.

You have known each other for years. Before children, during children, or praying together for the miracle of a child.

She stood with you at your wedding, was on stand-by during your first years of marriage, and has heard all of your big and little complaints about your spouse. She sees the ups and carries you through the downs, and you do the same for her.

You have been through it all.

Friends, real friends, are so hard to find.

They are one of life’s biggest miracles. A gift that you give thanks for each and every day. A real friendship is built experience by experience, you pour in time, love, giving, laughter and tears. Real friendship is an investment. With deposits and withdrawals being made from both sides. A nest-egg, of sorts.

Do you stop being friends when you haven’t spoken for months? Do you still think of the time that you spent together with fondness, with a laugh and a smile?

Even though your life runs down two different paths, parallel treks that do not intersect for months on end, does a friendship remain?

Can you dial the phone and pick up where you left off, or does the friendship end when you are not looking?

When things happen, as they always will, things that keep you apart-does the friendship end?

When your common interests are not so common anymore…does that mean your friendship is no longer the link that binds you?

As you all know…

I have been a bit consumed for the last few years…my health does not allow me the same freedom as I had in my past. I do not meet my friends for lunch anymore, or spend hours on the phone, or hang out after work for a beer with my buds.

I have to make choices.

I would love to chat about where you are, hear about your woes, laugh and giggle over a silly television show. I dearly would.

My weekly schedule revolves around sleep, rest, and work.

Although I do not advertise my issues, I have them. A year of tests and specialists took their toll, emotionally, physically and financially-not just on me, but on my children and my husband. To work, I have to rest. At this point in life, that supersedes all else.

My apology…

The other day I saw a cute little image on Facebook…stating the quote…”True friends, no matter how long it has been since we have seen each other…we pick up right where we left off.” It made me think of our situation, and it made me realize how much I missed my friendships. So, I re-posted it, tagging a few of my special friends. I wanted them to know I was thinking of them.

Immediately I received a response. It warmed my heart to see one of my friends respond so quickly.

Until I read the very publicly posted comment…

“This could not be further from the truth.” 

Was the answer to my heartfelt post.

From a special friend.  A super-duper woman that I respect and care for. Someone that I spent years getting to know. Building memories.

I immediately deleted the whole post.

I felt shame. Remorse. Heartbreak.

The friendship went away, while I was not looking.

So, I want to apologize. To each and everyone of you.

I am sorry that I am not the friend that I once was. I am sorry that I cannot dance til dawn, talk for all hours, take time out for silly shows-that made us giggle til our faces hurt.

I am sorry that I did not take the time to update you on my health issues, I was hoping they would go away, and when we realized that they were here to stay-it was too late. The debt and worry and stress had all come to roost. It was too much to say, too hurtful to think about, not that I didn’t want you to know-I just couldn’t voice it aloud.

I wasn’t leaving you out. Keeping anything from you.

We were just trying to hold things together the best we knew how.

When you are worried about putting food on the table for your children all other things fall to the side, and I am sorry for that.

I am sorry if I made you feel less than. That was never the intention. Ever.

I wish that there were more hours in the day

So I could work and rest, and take the time to meet you for lunch. Or dinner. Or drinks.

I miss you. I miss your laughter. I miss our connection.

It never occurred to me that when I got my head above water that you would not be there, for that I am sorry. I apologize for changing, for not continuing to be the person that you became friends with. I broke my part of the deal.

I did not hold up my end of the relationship. I am sorry that I have not been here for you. I think about you often, looking forward to the time when we could get together.

To laugh, to talk, to cry. Although I have had my issues, I am always here to support you, pray for you and want the best for you and yours.

Just know, that I love you, I wish you well, and I will always remember our time together with a smile.

May you be blessed indeed.

 

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04/16/14

I Have Said It Before And I’ll Say It Again…

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I am an oddball…

I have always felt that way. The square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole, a leopard with stripes, a fifth wheel, the odd man out.

Now I have proof. It wasn’t all in my mind.

I have been delving into my past

And I am confounded and dumb-founded by the decisions that I made. Looking back it seems like I had truly lost my marbles. Dropping them to scatter. Stooping to retrieve them from dark cobwebbed corners.

I should have grabbed up my marbles and ran back into the light. But no, I parked myself in the dark. Settling down to stay for awhile. Put down roots. In the dark where loneliness, insecurity and fear live.

But nothing grows in the dark.

I wasn’t trying to live my life the hard way. But the “hard way” seemed to be all I knew.

When I questioned my ability for rational thought, a friend suggested that I take a few personality tests. (Thanks again, Rose!) I honestly doubted that I would learn much that would assist me in my quest. But I was wrong.

The test results definitely helped me to better understand why I am the person I am.

I just wish I would have known when I was younger. Much younger.

The first tests that I took were silly,

You can check them out here: “Know Thyself”.

The next batch of tests were to determine if I was an Introvert, Ambivert, or Extrovert.

I have always worked in the public. And if I say so myself (which I do) I am exceedingly good at dealing with clients and helping them to get what they want/need. I have worked in large clubs-with hundreds of customers who knew my name (a’ la Cheers). For many years I stood on stage giving (fantastic, if I say so myself) Power Point Presentations, it was fun, informative and I strove to make each and every person in the audience feel involved.

A few years ago I created Women’s Success Network, a group of 50 women who met for lunch once a month. Arranging dynamic female speakers to inspire and prompt each of us all to be our very best. Many of the most influential women in the area attended monthly.

And most telling…I used to be the karaoke queen…at many of the finest watering holes in town. A little Pat Benatar, Alannah Myles, or the Go-Go’s, rocking it out every chance that I got.

I was always busy, surrounding myself with people, having fun, and usually wearing a lampshade and shouting through a bullhorn.

I never questioned that I was an extrovert. And I lived up to that title.

Until…

Although I would have said that I was the biggest extrovert EVAH!! Each and every test that I take slates me in the introvert column.

As I read definition after definition referring to introverted tendencies,  I must admit that I do believe that I truly am an introvert. Although this doesn’t mean that I need to give up my lampshade and my karaoke microphone, I just need more down time after each performance.

Quizzes

Susan Kane: The Power of Introverts

My results:

Your Personality Profile:

“I = Introvert.  Given the choice, you’ll devote your social energy to the people you care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. You think before you speak, and relish solitude. You feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests you. You have an active inner life, and are at your best when you tap into its riches.”

I do agree with this, I really enjoy hanging with our close group of friends. I appreciate it much more now that I cannot hang out as often as I would like. But a bonfire and a beer in the backyard, or at the lake, with friends and family are the times that I treasure the most.

Psychology About.com

“Introversion is marked by a number of different sub-traits:

  • Very self-aware
  • Thoughtful
  • Enjoys understanding details
  • Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • Tends to keep emotions private
  • Quiet and reserved in large groups or around unfamiliar people
  • More sociable and gregarious around people they know well
  • Learns well through observation

Introverts typically choose their friends much more carefully. Their closest relationships tend to be profound and significant”

I don’t have as many friends as I did when I was younger. But these friendships are much deeper, and more fulfilling.

Sometimes I think that I am too self-aware, questioning my interactions with others, wondering if I conveyed what I intended. Was I too brusque, too soft, too brash, understood?

Obviously I am interested in understanding myself and why I do the things I do. And since extroverts are more prevalent than introverts-3 to 1, maybe I am boring the majority of you!

23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert

This is a great article, does it resonate with you?

These are my top choices.

“8. Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.

10. You start to shut down after you’ve been active for too long.

14. You screen all your calls — even from friends.

15. You notice details that others don’t.

16. You have a constantly running inner monologue.

22. You’re a writer.”

Conclusion

Now that I realize that I am an introvert some my queries are answered. I do need time to myself, more than most. Working continually with the public is something that I enjoy, but I definitely need time to recharge.

Introversion does not mean that you are shy (and I definitely am not shy!), it just means that you need more time to recharge between social interactions. My entire work-life has been spent in the public eye, I never really realized how much time I needed to myself to counteract. Time alone allows me to be at my best. I tend to get stressed and cranky if I don’t take that time.

Many of my favorite activities are things that I do alone; write, read, paint, dream, garden.

Introverts also tend to think about what they say before they say it. Much of the time I carry on vocal debates, with myself, hashing and rehashing what I want to say, and how I want to say it. In fact, when I say things without thinking I tend to put my foot in my mouth. Then I have hours of conversation, with myself, hashing and rehashing!

Last, but not least, introverts gather our energy from inside ourselves, and an extrovert gathers energy from what goes on around them. Because of this introverts have a smaller pool of friends and relationships. We enjoy spending time by ourselves and only have so much energy for reaching out, so when we create relationships they mean a great deal to us.

So, take the tests…are you an introvert, extrovert, or a bit of both-an ambivert?

Leave your type in the comments below!

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04/13/14

Battening Down For The Upcoming Battle~1990 (Chapter 43)

IMG_1679_11Larry and I became strategists,

Planning for hubby’s return. We were both scared, but for different reasons. Larry was terrified that I would succumb to the pressure and return to my marriage. I was not ever going back, I was afraid, but for so many other reasons.

I was fearful of the unknown. Versions, of this meeting, ran through my head over and over. I just wanted it all to go away.

But…

“Bad things happen when good people pretend nothing is wrong.” Corey Taylor

Larry planned to take the week off work while the hubby was in town, he would not leave my side. I could not take the time off and I was worried about hubby blindsiding me while I was captive behind the bar. So we planned a “bring your boyfriend to work week”. I was feeling safe. Or at least as safe as I could while fearing the worst.

With only a week to go we covered all the bases.  Planned for every scenario. Or so we thought.

On Monday morning…

Larry went to work, Jane worked too, I went back to sleep-snuggling under the covers. They worked days and I worked nights, so our schedules were vastly different. Sleep also allowed me to avoid what was coming. When I was awake it was all I could think about. I used sleep to escape.

I still had a few days until the showdown. Hubby was slated to return to the base today and I assumed he would take leave and be in Ohio within the next few days.

I had no idea when he was coming, I had not talked to him.

I tried. But when I would answer the phone, he would return my “hello” with screaming. Obscenities.

At first I tried to wait out his tirade. Like a child with a temper tantrum. Let him run out of steam.

But he didn’t. Run out of steam, that is.

He had a right to be mad.

I didn’t make the best decisions. But, he was the one who pushed me into a corner. Like a wounded animal, cowering in fright, waiting for the killing blow. He had decimated me. I had been licking my wounds for months. Scared to tell anyone. I had gotten myself into this.

I was embarrassed, humiliated, stupefied.

I had not listened to anyone before walking down the church aisle. Ignoring the naysayers. As usual, I did what I thought was right and pretended that there was no downside. Once again, I was wrong.

But instead of admitting that I was wrong, I kept it to myself. Larry had heard hubby’s deranged ranting, he could not help but overhear the screaming from the other end of the phone. Threats made in the Philippines echoed through my apartment thousands of miles away. And I shivered in fear, goose bumps rose on my flesh, as if hubby was standing in the same room.

Call after repeated call, dozens an hour, days on end-Larry grabbed the receiver. He was finished allowing me to handle this on my own. I was too ashamed to tell my friends and family, but Larry was fed up with the terrorizing phone calls.

“Enough”, Larry yelled, his word was heard, loud and clear thousands of miles away.

There was silence on the other end.

For a moment.

I, breathed a breath of relief.

For a moment.

I was not alone in this fight anymore. Attempting to reconcile the man I married to the monster I had come to know.

For a moment.

“I am going to kill you.”

Were the last words spoken before the connection was severed. Those words hung ominously in the air. And lingered. I could not erase them from my mind. The way they were spoken, unhinged evilness dripping from every syllable.

Larry shrugged it off. He could take care of himself.

But those words haunted my hours, awake and asleep. I dreaded the homecoming. I wanted to hide.

But it was coming, nothing would stop it.

So, I crawled into bed, pulling the covers over my head. Hibernating in the Rabbit Hole once again.

“Bad things happen when good people pretend nothing is wrong.” Corey Taylor

I had only a few days, and I was counting down every second. I was distracted by my fear, not aware of things around me.

So when I was pulled from sleep by a knock on the door, the dog barking, I stumbled out of bed to answer it. I assumed that Larry had come home for lunch and forgotten his key.

As I reached to turn the knob, the dog growled, and I stopped in my tracks. Hair raised on the back of my neck and I held my breath.

“I know that you are in there, open the door.”

 

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04/11/14

Does Your Clothing Make You Look Older Than You Are?

Apparently mine do.

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I have worked  in the restaurant industry since I was 13 years old. (That’s a whole lotta years.)

We wear a lot of black. Mixed with black and more black. Pretty cool, as black is more slimming, right?

I have collected black clothing for more than 30 years. And I have been committed. Totally.

The best thing about my abundance of black clothing…everything matches…kind of like Garanimals.

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I like to mix classic with a twist. Maybe all black with a great scarf, or a colorful blouse, or a great piece of jewelry.

 One day…

On a day off, I stopped by work. My co-worker stated…”Look at you, looking so young and hip!”

I loved the comment, but it made me realize that I was aging myself in my work attire. The color scheme was the same, dark wash trouser jeans, black turtleneck, green zip up hoody and a black down vest.

So it wasn’t the colors that I choose, it is the style and cut. I believe that most days I am the oldest one at work. Thankfully the dress code for my position allows me to wear my own clothing, but I think that I need to shake things up a bit.

I decided to look into some young hip tops to wear under my jackets.

Here are my top contenders.

Charitywater.org photo and apparel

Charitywater.org
photo and apparel

Pretty cool, eh? Conversation starter!

This shirt can be purchased from Charitywater.org. Not only is it cool, but for each product purchased money goes to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person in the world.

Charitywater.org photo and apparel

Charitywater.org
photo and apparel

This is another Charitywater.org shirts on my wishlist.

“The craziest thing we can do is nothing”.

I love the design…it sounds young and hip…and once again, a conversation starter-for sure.

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KNOclothing.com
photo and apparel

I love keys, especially skeleton keys. They are mysterious and beautifully shaped.

Traditional with a twist?

Like me.

This shirt is available from KNOClothing  each item purchased helps the homeless.

And this necklace is the best. Get one for yourself!

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KNOclothing.com
photo and jewelry

Awesome, isn’t it!

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Warriors In Pink
photo and apparel

And last, but not least, Warriors In Pink by Ford.

Not only do I love the shirt-it is priced $20 and $11.70 goes to help breast cancer research.

 

If I am going to invest money in my closet, the least that I can do is help someone else while I look young and hip!

Give these sites a look-over, maybe you will see something that will work for you too!

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04/8/14

Late To The Party!

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As usual. Fashionably late?!?!

Thankfully it is a “come as you are” party.

In fact, I am attending attired in sweats and slippers-snuggled up in bed with my puppy. My kind of party! And you are all invited!

No, we are not all going to fit in my king sized bed-this is a week long link-up party. So come as you are, from wherever you are-join in the fun.

This 7 day shindig is hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom. And it is The Ultimate Blog Party, April 4-11 (told you I was late!). Jump in-add your links-get to know other bloggers, and let them get to know you.

Hundreds of other bloggers are attending-last night there was a Google+ Hangout and tonight at 9 pm EST you can hook up through a Twitter Party #UBP14. Throughout the week you are invited to Blog Hop the other attendees, comment away, grow your network and make new friends.

So write a party post and grab a UBP Badge (link for badge), introduce yourself and your blog. Then add the URL of that post on the link at 5 Minutes For Mom.
Ultimate Blog Party 2014
Come along, hangout with us on Twitter, give your site a boost, learn tips and tricks from those in the know.

Wordless Wednesday is still open for a few more hours…link up here.

 

Who Am I??

I have always been a creative person. Cake decorator, decorative artist, seamstress, and I am a jack of many trades-master of none. But I sure have fun trying!

The past several years have been life altering. My blog View From In Here is about adapting, changing, rolling with the flow-or at least trying to. I am learning who I am, to like myself, to understand how I got to this place and to forgive myself for past mistakes and bad decisions.

Who Am I???

Who Am I???

I like to toss ideas in the spin cycle of my mind, let them marinate a bit, then spit them out the way that I see them. My views are not always main-stream or politically correct, but hopefully it opens up the mind of the reader to think in new ways.

I am a mother of 3-one with fur and a tail, and a wife of one. Writing is a way for me to connect with others. To dream. To organize my thoughts.

Through blogging I have also begun to love taking photos and playing with them. PicMonkey is a bit of an obsession!

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Creating, in any form, has its place on View From In Here.

Thanks for reading, many thanks to 5 Minutes For Mom for hosting the party.

I am off to have some fun!

See you there.

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04/4/14

Muraled Furniture…

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As a Decorative Artist~

I love a mural, but I REALLY love muraled furniture.

A mural gives so much character to a room. Showcasing the personality of the homeowner.

But if you decide to move-you cannot take it with you. If your taste in art changes your mural may not coincide with your developing tastes. Buying new furniture becomes a task, as you need to make sure that it works with your wall art.

But if your mural is painted on a piece of furniture it can move from room to room, from home to home. If your decorating tastes change, you can sell the piece, or pass it on to friends and family.

Over the years I have painted scenes on many objects; drainage pipes, neckties, shirts, trunks, dressers, clay pots, Adirondack chairs, hats, tables, chairs, buffets. But this piece is my favorite and we are keeping it for ourselves.

Source Brault

Source Brault vintage poster, artist Philippe Noyer

Source Brault vintage poster, artist Philippe Noyer

Is a vintage work created by French artist, Philippe Noyer, in 1938. It is my favorite vintage poster, I love the mermaids and the color scheme.

We looked for a piece that I could use to reproduce this work, in mural style. Browsing in a used furniture store we came across a bookshelf made from manufactured wood. It was in fairly good condition and I talked my husband into hauling it home.

 

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(The bookshelf was similar to the picture above which can be purchased at Walmart.com)

The Redo…

I sanded the body well, and primed. Then we purchased some molding and corners at Lowe’s. I wanted the piece to be sleek, keeping with the artwork.

I used a water based black paint with high sheen, and varnished it with a water based gloss varnish.

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Hubby cut wood to hang for doors, making the bookshelf into an armoire. He also installed shelves so that we could hide a television away inside.

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We have used the piece for many years, but I have just recently begun putting the finishing touches on the artwork.

The television was also moved to another location which enables us to leave the doors closed so that we can enjoy the mural.

I did not copy the art as is, the naked mermaids are beautiful but we decided to cover their chests and paint their tails up to their belly buttons. We like their faces a bit more detailed also.

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As you can tell from the photos it is still a work in progress, although it is not a finished piece we have had many offers for it.

But this is one piece that is not for sale.

 

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03/31/14

My Mysterious Disease…

AKA The Black Cloaked Demon

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Note: This post has its own page on my blog. I have quite a few new readers (YIPPEE!!!) and I find that I have grown and learned much since I became ill. My illness shades quite a bit of my life. There are times that I may not post for a week or more, these are the times that I have pushed myself to the edge. During these times I go to bed and remain there for long stretches at a time, sometimes days, sometimes a full week. 

I decided to dedicate a page to The Demon, as it is a part of me now.

I do not let it define me, I do not let it control me, I have the Kryptonite!!

September 7th, 2012

My 45th birthday.

I slept in, which was lovely, ran a few errands and then went to donate blood.

I got home about 5pm and I started to feel a bit odd. My symptoms were flu-like, but they had come on very quickly. I was hot, the back of my neck hurt, I ached, had a low grade temperature   and was extremely nauseous. Instead of celebrating my birthday, I went to bed.

Giving blood was the last thing I did-in my old life.

Over the next few days, I could barely hold up my head. Bruce, my husband, took me to my regular Doctor, who was befuddled with my symptoms and my illness. He sent me for a few blood tests. Gave me an antibiotic.

As the week progressed the pain moved from the back of my neck to the right, and up behind my ear. Not only was there pain, but there was also quite a bit of swelling. Off to the doctor we went. More blood tests and x-rays, and another stronger antibiotic. Doc was thinking that I had Mastoiditis, an infection inside the bone behind my ear.

But all the tests came back clean.

A few days later I awoke and hardly recognized myself. The right side of my face was very swollen, and I had a goose-eggs on my forehead, above my eyebrow and another on the top of my head. The bumps also radiated pain, as if i was being stabbed-repeatedly-in those areas.

I was still running a temperature.

Similar to Cliff Clavin on Cheers-I was beginning to be a regular at my Doctor’s office-and everyone knew my name. More blood tests were ordered and an MRI.

Everything came back normal.

October 2012

I began taking Vicodin for the pain. And sleeping pills. The pain was so intense that although I was exhausted I could not sleep.

And nothing would lower my temperature. At this point, it seemed, there was nothing my Doctor could do.

Next stop, Infectious Disease Specialist, I may have contracted a rare disease. They gave me an antibiotic that used as a treatment for The Plague and Anthrax.

It did not stop my “Demon”, but succeeded in killing all the good bacteria my body!

My temperature lingered, still.

Next, on to the Neurologist. Another MRI and a CT scan. And more blood tests.

Still no answers.

November 2012

On to a Rheumatologist. His diagnosis: I did not have Rheumatoid or any other  type of arthritis.  More blood tests.

Then to an Oncology Phlebotomist. After more blood tests we found out that I did not have cancer. Yeah!

Surprisingly, I still had blood left to draw.

Next, I was touring an entire Cardiac Wing. They searched for fungus in my heart. Scary.

After many tests, tests that took days, and more blood draws, they let me know that my ticker was in tip top shape.

I was repeatedly tested for Lupus and Lyme Disease. Tests came back negative.

Blood diseases…negative results there too.

And the temperature raged on.

December 2012

I began to notice a black hole in my vision through my right eye. The eyeball itself was twice the normal size and bulging. Back to my Doctor-who continued to be absolutely gobsmacked by all of my developing symptoms.

He immediately sent me to an Ophthalmologist. Many tests were performed, it took longer than normal-as I was in intense pain each time a light was shined in my right eye.  I now know what a hot poker feels like-placed directly into and burning through my eye-repeatedly.

Obviously, the Doctor saw something abnormal, sending me off to a Retinal Specialist, ASAP.

This Doctor’s office was really cool. I would have appreciated it more if I was not the Guinea Pig, er…patient. Many more blood tests, and spot-lights directed into my eyes…an I.V. placed in my arm filled with yellow dye for contrast.  My eyes turned yellow, everything took on a golden hue..pretty cool… my face was yellow too!

Then they took these absolutely cool pictures of my eye! As I said, if I was not sick it would have been fascinating.

Finally, we got a bit of an answer.

I had  a stroke.

At 45 years of age.

Life had been incredibly stressful throughout the past year, some horrendous things had happened.  We had some relief to those issues at the end of August 2012.

I became sick 7 days later. The stroke did not happen on September 7th, the disease happened. My body had held out, functioning and fighting through the stress overload, but could not continue. 

When I was younger I enjoyed living on the knife-sharp edge of stress. I felt that it made me sharp.

Do not be fooled.

Take yoga. Breathe deep. Smell the roses.

Stress kills.

AKA The Black Cloaked Demon.

Stress took a toll.  Paving the way for Autoimmune Disease to take up residence in my body. It was here to stay. Forever.

The stroke was a symptom of the disease. It had nothing to do with my life-style choices. Eating habits or youthful over-indulgences with alcohol. Or my heart.

Unless you take into consideration that my heart had been broken, again. And I did not, or could not, deal with that. I lost.

The stroke also killed half of the retina in my right eye. I am now partially blind.

(The Photo above is my right eye. The round ball of light on the right is the optical nerve. The large blob of light in the center is my dead retina.)

January 2013

More blood tests. Another MRI.

A trip to Michigan State University to see a Neurologist Ophthalmologist.

He was also confounded by my symptoms. He had never seen anything like this. He had seen strokes of the eye in his elderly patients, 90+ year old patients. But he had never seen anything quite like this and he knew of no treatment.

Not for the blindness or the pain. Not for reducing my temperature and he doubted I would find MY smile again.

There was nothing that he could do. He would like to keep my case open and review it. Share it. Search for a diagnosis. He was a great Doctor, with over 20 years of schooling and knowledge of the eyes and the brain.

But he had no answers.

He sent me for a few more blood tests and sent us home.

At this time most of the swelling and goose-egg type bumps had reduced but I still had intense pain in the right side of my face and head. Driving was out of the question and riding in a car was extremely painful because of the pressure.

I had now been in bed for more than 120 days and constantly doped up with Vicodin.

February 2013

I began to look at natural products, trying one after the other. Some alleviated the symptoms a bit, but not enough for me to be out of bed for more than a few hours.

Looking into the mirror-I no longer saw myself. It was frightening to glance at a mirror and see someone else’s face look back at me.

And I realized that I had lost my smile. Probably the one thing that I liked the most about myself.

In the last few days of February I began a new natural product. Within a few hours the pain abated (lots of vitamins, minerals, and tons of antioxidants), although I still continued to take Ibuprofen I never took another Vicodin.

A few days later my temperature finally went away!

I had been running a low-grade fever for more than 5 months. This was a huge victory!!!

March 2013

I began working again mid-March and set up this blog March 21, 2013. More victories.

I get tired quickly when I push myself too hard or for too long- my eye hurts and my temperature rises. My extremities and joints tend to be achy and painful. And I sleep in 15 hour stretches when I need to. Rest seems to be the Demon’s Kryptonite.

I take the same natural product daily and I will for the rest of my life.

When we told the Ophthalmologist Neurologist that I was up and around he was shocked.

He never expected me to get better.

I still have the disease, I always will. I have to manage it.

We have no idea what disease I have, and as long as I can keep the Demon at bay…we never will!

I have learned that I need to stop more, slow down and enjoy life. Enjoy my children and my husband.

 

Breathe. Inhale deeply and push all the stress out-let it float aloft the exhale-disappearing like a waft of smoke.

The time that I have, the here and now, well, I wasn’t supposed to have this time, I got lucky.

Blessed.

 

My motto is now:

“You only get one life…get out there and FIGHT for it!!”

(Just do it in a low-stress kind of way!)

 

XOXO.

 

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03/30/14

Were You Born In A Barn??? Seriously!

Just stopping by for a bit of a rant!

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As many of you know I enjoy being employed by multiple businesses. I like the variety of atmosphere and duties of each position.  (Check out Training To Be A 1960′s Housewife.) I am also very much a stickler, in other words, I am “Anal” about how things are done. I admit it. If you are not doing your job I don’t want to waste time working with you. I work hard when I have to so that I can have fun on my off time. And I take extreme pride in a job well done.

My husband and I work for a Cleaning Service on the weekends. We sweep, mop, vacuum, take out the garbage, dust, fill paper towel, toilet paper, soap and hand-sanitizer dispensers, clean windows, wipe down surfaces and clean bathrooms. Nothing too difficult. The building that we clean is a beautiful new building, which makes things easier.

But when you break things down we have approximately 10 hours (20 hours for both of us) to sweep, mop and vacuum a 30,000+  square foot building. There are more than 600 garbage bags that need to be changed and taken to their respective receptacles. There are 30+ toilets to clean and more than 80 sinks. It is a big job, and we need to work very efficiently to get it all completed.

We accepted the job and all that it entails, and we do it well. As we leave the building it is nice to look back and see everything in it’s place, bright and sparkly, ready for the staff on Monday morning.

BUT…

I am shocked by the way people treat their place of employment. Maybe they are relying on our cleaning service to clean up after them, but we are not maids or butlers. It astounds me to walk into an office and see trash surrounding the garbage cans. Each desk has their own receptacle, if I can see that you have missed the can, from this vantage point, you can too. Or sinks filled with coffee stains. You dump your coffee, rinse the sink. We find food that has been dropped on the floor, and left there. No attempts made to pick it up, none.

Don’t let me get started on the bathrooms!!! But, not only am I going to start, I am going to finish!

As I open the bathroom door the first thing I see are paper towels on the floor surrounding the garbage can and littering the floor. Really? And ladies. Ahem! Take care of your personal garbage! Be polite. You do realize that other human beings remove the garbage that you leave behind??!! We all (females) deal with “Aunt Flow”, but we do not need to leave visible evidence. Leave a little mystery. Does everyone who uses the bathroom in your home see items left behind from your “Monthly Visitor”? I truly hope not!

So…

I will jump off my soapbox, the job is completed for another week. As I stated, we did accept the position, and we do it well. I am just confounded by the lack of respect, not only for those who clean up after you, but for yourself, co-workers and employers.

<Hurrumph>

Am I just an ole’ fuddy duddy???

How do you leave your work-place??

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